July 2014

Cabo Rico’s Classic Cutter

The Cabo Rico 38 struts its stuff in windy, offshore conditions. The 38 is at home in the open ocean, not drifting around the buoys.

Subscribers Only Still going strong after more than 35 years, the Bill Crealock-designed Cabo Rico 38 is much admired for its strength, seakeeping ability, and teak joinery work. While the original beauty was out of reach of the average cruiser, the recession has put enough of a dent in this market that some attractively priced boats are popping up now and then. With the molds for this popular boat in limbo, it could well be that the only Cabo 38s we’ll see in the future are those that are out sailing today, and this shouldn’t hurt their value.

Former Marketing Director, CR38 Owner Offers His 2 Cents

Subscribers Only Practical Sailor reader Allen Taylor so loved his Cabo Rico 38 that he eventually started working for the company as the marketing director. Now, with his stint at Cabo Rico far behind him, the former marketing director offered this insightful view of the Crealock 38, which he lived on and cruised for several years. Although he still holds the boat in high esteem, he offered this list of potential trouble spots.

The Media on the Bounty

Coast Guard crewmembers (above left) assist Bounty crew after the rescue. According to the National Transportation Safety Board, the sinking was likely caused by the captain’s ‘reckless decision’ to sail the ship into the path of a hurricane.

Subscribers Only The Oct. 29, 2012, sinking of the HMS Bounty off the coast of North Carolina during Superstorm Sandy left 14 crewmembers injured and shaken, one crewmember dead, and the captain missing, presumed dead. The 108-foot ship, designed and built for the 1962 movie “Mutiny on the Bounty,” sank before dawn about 130 miles southeast of Cape Hatteras, N.C., after being battered by Sandy’s 30-foot seas and 100 mile-per-hour winds. Several hours after the sinking, Coast Guard helicopters rescued the crew members.

Tylaska Tops in Snap Shackles

Sure, a bowline will do for a halyard, but when it comes to quick sail changes or spinnaker peels, a snap shackle does the trick.

Subscribers Only Snap shackles have become as familiar to sailors as pots and pans are to a harried chef. From dinghies to mega yachts, the function of these ubiquitous bits of hardware remains consistent. Each affords a quick and reliable means of making that all-important halyard-to-sail junction. The absolute minimalist might say that a bowline can do the same, afterall, isn’t it the favored means of attaching sheets to the clew of a sail? The knots-for-snap shackles debate loses out, however, when it comes to hasty halyard swaps, not to mention the release of a loaded spinnaker guy. And even if you’re not quite ready to label these shackles as essential hardware, they certainly do make life on the foredeck a whole lot easier.

Testers Compare Swivels, Look for Pin Creep

A spring gauge (above) measures the tension required to rotate the snap shackles. A dynamometer (right) measures loads during testing.

Subscribers Only For this evaluation, each shackle was visually inspected, component parts were measured, and stainless-steel alloys were noted. During this initial inspection, we tested how easy each snap shackle could be closed with one hand; we also repeatedly measured how easily the un-clipping process could be executed using a simple tension spring-test on the piston-pin versions and by using a height scale on the Tylaska push-to-release latching model. We recognize the importance of pin security under load and felt that the reluctance of a shackle pin to be easily pulled under load was, in many cases, an attribute.

Stainless Steel: Advantages and Ailments

A spring gauge (above) measures the tension required to rotate the snap shackles. A dynamometer (right) measures loads during testing.

Subscribers Only When it comes to stainless steel, nothing seems more baffling than the latest array of alloys that have migrated into the marine market. Not so long ago, stainless steel was referred to as 302, 304, and 316. These differing grades of stainless varied according to chrome and nickel content and the corrosion resistance they afforded.

Garmin 741xs Goes Wireless

Subscribers Only Planned obsolescence is probably the most irksome way to keep manufacturing costs down and inspire us to buy stuff. Each time a new or updated line of multi-function devices appear, we ask ourselves if the new version represents real value, or are the engineers just adding another tower to their Lego castle, while the marketing folks ponder adding an umlaut or “X” to the product name.

Ray e7 Gets Makeover

The e7D was networked with a Raymarine autopilot for trials.

Subscribers Only For a more detailed look at the product, see our initial report in the July 2012 issue online. Here’s a quick recap. The e7D is part of Raymarine eSeries HybridTouch line of multifunction displays (available in 7-, 9-, 12.1- or 15.4-inch display sizes) that combines touchscreen interface with a joystick-like “unicontrol” and features Bluetooth and WiFi connectivity. After our first report, Raymarine identified a touchscreen issue with some e7 and e7D plotters (see PS March 2014 online). A campaign to replace problematic devices with refurbished units is ongoing.

Creating a Custom Med Kit

A sturdy toolbox keeps medicines, bandages, and medical equipment dry and clean (above). Individual sealable plastic bags keep the contents organized. The Adventure Medical Kit 3000 (below), one of our top-rated pre-packaged offshore medical kits, saves boaters the time and trouble of assembling their own kit, but adds expense.

Sailors know the most about the things we use the most. We check our amp hours every day, our standing rigging frequently, our sails every time they’re up, the anchor shackle before settling in for the night. After all, these are the things that keep us comfortable and safe on a daily basis. The corollary is that we know the least about the things we use the least. How often do we check the chain on the backup anchor, the lines on the drogue, the clew of the storm sail? After all, it’s human nature to not think about things we hope we never have to use.

Performing First-aid Feats When There is No Kit

A common baseball cap can be converted into a neck brace (above left). Foam inside a life jacket can be used to make a splint (above right).

If you reach for the onboard first-aid kit and find out there isn’t one, don’t panic during an emergency. Some out-of-the-box thinking will help put the needed medical tools in your hands. The guiding rule to survival is to use what’s available and improvise.

Cockpit Lighting Options

Enjoying summer nights outdoors with friends got us thinking about options for lighting up the cockpit during the season’s easy evening hours. We found two innovative products that piqued our interests—the Mr. Beams’ wireless LED lantern and Thermologi’s JOI candle lantern, which uses thermoelectric energy to produce electrical power from heat—and one do-it-yourself solution using a water bottle.

WeatherFlow: A Smart Wind Meter

With a propeller-style anemometer, the WeatherFlow wind meter works with iOS and Android personal electronics.

WeatherFlow, a leader in the private-sector weather industry, recently introduced its first hardware product for the wind- and weather-addicted community: the WeatherFlow wind meter. Similar to the Vaavud from Ronstan International that we reviewed last year (see PS November 2013 online), the pocket-size WeatherFlow wind meter plugs into the audio port of a smartphone or tablet and records wind speeds using a proprietary app.

Winterizing an Outboard

For winterizing a small outboard engine, is it best to run the gas out of the engine or store it full with an additive mixed in? Is it the same for two-stroke and four-stroke engines? What about ethanol and non-ethanol gasoline?

Mailport: July 2014

Impressed with the quiet power of the Torqeedo Cruise electric outboard, reader Ken Jacks is investigating a conversion to electric propulsion aboard his 1985 Aloha 8.2, Alexis Marie (above).

I have sailed a Tartan Fantail powered with a Torqeedo Cruise 2.0 a few times. I fell in love with the silence and the power of the engine, and as a result, I have my diesel for sale. I plan to replace it with an inboard, electric 48-volt powerplant. I have investigated quite a few.

Steer Clear of Flex-Able-brand Expandable Hose

The Flex-Able expandable hose we tested failed after less than a week of use when its inner lining burst. The company promptly sent us a replacement, which also failed.

We were paging through our email’s filtered spam folder last summer to make sure we didn’t miss anything and came across an ad for a compact, flexible hose that looked ideal for small boats. The “incredible expanding” Flex-Able hose “is made of a tough double-wall construction that is designed to bend and never kink,” and included a seven-way spray nozzle with the hose. The hose’s ability to shrink down to an extremely compact size when not in use was particularly enticing.

Where Credit Is Due: July 2014

Reader Denis Foster’s Beneteau Oceanis 47, Hibernia, rests at anchor in Spain.

This winter, I completely rebuilt the Edson steering system on my boat. With the kind of monopoly that Edson International (www.edsonintl.com) has, I expected the type of customer service one would have found in a Soviet-era supermarket. Boy, was I wrong!

Pura Vida Dreamin’

Ben Harrison, owner-builder of what became the prototype for the Cabo Rico 38, takes a don’t-try-this-at-home approach to deck seams in the yard next to the home he and his wife rented in Costa Rica. Harrison documents the early days of Cabo Rico in his book, ‘Sailing Down the Mountain.’

If you were the young, newly married Ben Harrison, hanging out in San Francisco in 1973 with your beautiful art graduate wife, and you suddenly found yourself heir to $32,000—well, you’d be excused for being seduced by teak trailing boards, clipper bows, and bowsprits. It was the 1970s after all, when a good bit of America experienced a collective lapse of judgement.

Inside Practical Sailor Blog

Can Carbon Foam Batteries Meet Hype?

by Darrell Nicholson on April 21, 2015

The real test of any good marine product involves many units on many boats, so the true winners in the new technology game don’t rise until long after they are introduced. This requires staying power. I often wonder how many good ideas for sailors never made it to fruition for lack of capital. In recent years, many of the most promising products we look at trickle down from other, more lucrative arenas—energy and defense being two of the most common sources. Such is the case with the Firefly Oasis battery we tested.

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